Aubade in Casselberry
After Milosz’s “Mittelbergheim”
by Amy Watkins

Alex sleeps in a nest of cotton sheets.
I am wakened by the firing of an engine in the streets
of Casselberry. I hear my young daughter
whispering into her pillow in the next room,
a door slam in the still-dark outside.
I keep my eyes closed. Don’t rush me,
jealous god that you are, for it is too early.

Here and nowhere else is my homeland.
I carry it with me: a breeze, a palm, a fire ant,
lightning splitting the low clouds, walking sand dunes
in the hot gold of day beside waters green
as my love’s eyes in the morning.

I have lived through thirty years and never, even in dreams
attained anything beyond these few rooms
and the limited frontier of my imagination—
no truth, no insight, no unity more profound
than my foot against his calf and our daughter
nearby sleeping. Let me believe it is enough.
Let the family sleep in Casselberry

SOURCE:  Originally published in The Louisville Review.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem after reading Czeslaw Milosz’s “Mittelbergheim,” in which the poet slowly wakes up in a strange city feeling a sense of connection to the world that is almost transcendent. Unlike the world traveler Milosz, I can’t say, “Here and everywhere / Is my homeland.” I love his poem, but the connection I feel to the world is smaller in scale.

PHOTOGRAPH: “North Triplet Lake, Casselberry, Florida” by Seldom4.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Watkins grew up with the armadillos and scrub oaks on the Central Florida ridge. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Atavic and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives near Orlando with her husband and daughter, a maniacal cat, and a very patient dog.